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Bungoma to reap windfall from Mt Elgon

19 September 2013, 11:46 Arap Yego

Plans by the Bungoma County government are in top gear to market Mt Elgon region as the best tourist attraction destination in Western Kenya.

Speaking to the media after a fact-finding mission in the constituency, Teresa Nakhungu Barasa, the County Minister for Tourism, Environment, Forestry and Natural resources, said that Bungoma stands to reap a windfall from Mt Elgon whose tourism potential largely remains untapped.

“Mt. Elgon, the second highest peak in Kenya is not only one of the six water towers in the country, but also a home to rare bird species, plants and wild animals. We, as a ministry, have taken a key interest in Mt Elgon and are keen to promote the region as a favourite tourist attraction site,” said Barasa.

The minister observed that Mt Elgon Constituency residents have never gained from the natural resource but instead have left their counterparts in Endebess Constituency, Trans-Nzoia County, where the Mt Elgon National Park is located, to benefit.

She revealed that the County has set aside a budget of over KES 280 Million to her ministry and pointed out that a large chunk of the funds will be channeled to Mt Elgon, as the County stands to benefit a lot in terms of revenue, if it invests in tourism.  

“The major challenge remains the poor road network, but we will liaise with governor Kenneth Lusaka and Roads Minister to see what can be done to open up the region to tourists,” said Barasa.

According to Senior Warden of Kenya Wildlife Service in charge of Mt Elgon area, Peter Muthusi, the major attraction sites and activities in the region include caves, spectacular waterfalls, bird watching, mountain and game viewing.

Tourists can view wildlife such leopards, bushbucks, monkeys and buffaloes among others at the national parks.

Elephants are also a major attraction at the park in Trans-Nzoia County, but they roam freely to the Bungoma County side and at times even stray very close to the Kaptama and Kapsokwony towns, where locals have a rare chance of viewing the giant beasts, that belong to the big five, from a safe distance.

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